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I would recommend these "LL Bean Manatee" Perception kayaks for anyone who loves kayaking!
My daughter-in-law is new at paddling and after trying 4 or 5 other rec boats, she tried my Manatee. Her first word after paddling it was..."SWEET"....now she and my son want their own!
I have owned many kayaks through the years and I find the Manatee to be a great little kayak for casual flatwater paddling...and well worth the price.
Recently, I went kayaking with a friend in a Necky Manitou 13. We traded off so I had an opportunity to compare the Manatee with a sleeker craft. Although I was able to keep up with the Necky, I had to expend much more effort. It soon became evident that the longer craft would track and glide much better than the Manatee. Where the Manatee did shine was when we came to some small rapids and current. The shorter kayak was much more maneuverable and less susseptible to getting turned sideways in the current.
The bottom line is that there are trade-offs. While not the sleekest craft, the Manatee is very stable and can slip in and out of tight places easily. It is a good kayak for beginners, but if you are looking for performance.....spend a little more and get something longer and sleeker.
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